During our recent parent talk last Wednesday, Muriel our counselor for EC and KG, presented a talk on Thriving Through Transition. While this talk referred more to moving country and transitioning to IST, I thought it might be useful to bring this subject up again here as life is full of transitions regardless of whether or not you are moving school and country.

The “W Curve” Transition model is often used to describe the process of moving country. In fact, this model is applicable for many of life’s transitions – change of job, getting married, having a baby to name but a few! The picture below is based on the W curve and captures some of the thoughts and feelings associated with transitioning.


The model talks about the different stages that we experience when going through change. In a nutshell these stages encompass feeling elated and excited about the upcoming change (the Honeymoon Phase), to overwhelmed or frustrated by the lack of familiarity (Crisis Phase), to once again feeling “at home” with our new situation or surroundings (Adjustment Phase). As we all go through many changes in life, some more significant than others, this model may feel familiar to many of us.

Successful Transitions

So what are some things that we can do to help make change easier? Well, if you have moved country the Transition tab at the top of this page is a good place to start. It also helps to recognize that transitions are hard because they can shake your sense of identity. Because we define ourselves in part by our surroundings, when they change it can be very disorienting. Remember other times in life when you have successfully dealt with transition or change – what helped you during this time? And in those times of frustrations, try to remind yourself of why you chose to make the change in the first place as this knowledge often gets lost in the chaos of the transition.



Parent Workshops 2013-1014


Parent Workshops

Wednesdays 7:15-8:30

ES Staff Room 

The Elementary Counselors have a tradition of holding parent workshops throughout the year.  We aim to reach all parents by offering sessions that cover a variety of topics including: the programs we teach, parenting skills, child development, and transition issues.  Detailed information on each workshop is published during the weeks before it is held – see Counseling Blog, Weekly Bulletin, and posters in school.

Sep 4    Transition to IST – Smooth adjustment for new families

Sep 18  Building Empathy – Recognizing & responding to emotions

Oct 2     Good Friends – Supporting social development

Nov 6    Safe Touch – Protective approaches to inappropriate touch

Dec 4     Effective Parenting – Parent-Child Communication

Jan 22    Transition to IST – Smooth adjustment for new families

Feb 5     Cyber Bullying – Keeping safe on digital media

Feb 19   Emotional Management – Helping children regulate emotions

Mar 5    Tough Stuff – Sensitive topics and how to address them

Apr 2     Problem Solving & Kelso – Independent problem solving skills

Apr 23   To be decided– Send us your suggestions

May 14  Good Goodbyes – For leavers and for those who stay

Kelso’s Choices – IST’s chosen Conflict Resolution Program


Kelso’s Choices Wheel

In recent days, the ES Counselors have been visiting your children’s classrooms and reviewing Kelso’s Choices.

Kelso’s Choices is a program that assists children in identifying and solving problems between people.


2P even made their own Kelso this year!

According to Kelso, there are two sizes of problems: big and small.

Small problems are not very dangerous and not very scary. Children can work to solve their own small problems using self-generated solutions or using some of Kelso’s solutions (see the solution wheel pictured at the beginning of this post). Kelso asks children to try at least two of his choices before going to an adult for assistance. If, after trying two solutions, the problem has not been resolved, children are asked to approach an adult in the following manner: “I have a small problem [explain what it is] and I have tried [the following two solutions] but I still have the problem. Will you help me please?”

Examples of small problems:  not sharing, cutting in line, arguing with their sibling, making noises that interfere with someone else, cheating in a game, calling someone names.

Big problems are scary, dangerous, and can result in physical injury. Children should not attempt to solve big problems on their own. They should seek help from adults whom they trust.

Examples of big problems: bullying (keeping in mind the definition of bullying. Children at IST know that bullying is when someone does repeated actions that are meant to hurt someone else), throwing stones near other people, exploring a dangerous place, stealing, playing rough, playing with fire, hitting.


Students try to match pictures to the correct Kelso’s Choice

Kelso at Home:

If your child brings a small problem to an adult without first trying to solve it on their own, the best thing for an adult to say is the following: “Is this a big problem or a small problem? Is it very scary or dangerous? [No] Okay, please use one or two
 of Kelso’s choices to try to solve this on your own. I’d be happy to hear how you solved the problem afterwards.” After your child has solved his/her problem be sure to provide the appropriate reassurance and positive feedback for a job well done.

Kelso’s program empowers children to identify and solve their own problems. Teachers and parents have reported a decrease in tattling/telling tales after using this program. Children appreciate having options from which to choose. They also enjoy the opportunity to positively affect their own environment. All the elementary students know Kelso and his methods to solve problems, as this program is used school-wide from EC to Grade 5 (see p.39-40 of your Parent Handbook for the poster of Kelso’s Choices that is in every ES classroom at IST ). If you use this language at home, your child
 will be exposed to a consistent response from adults and will begin to respond to conflicts with more independence. It may be helpful to place the Kelso’s solution wheel from your Parent Handbook in a prominent place in your home so that your children may refer to it when needed.



poster Transition Sept 2013

Introducing the ES Counseling Team




Klara Jaeger, Nicki Lorenzini and Muriel Piek

Klara Jaeger – Grades 3, 4 and 5, room 26 

Nicki Lorenzini – Grades 1 and 2, room 27

Muriel Piek – EC and Kindergarten, room 56

As Klara has joined our team this year, we asked her to tell you something about herself:

I grew up in Perth, Australia where I studied at Murdoch University gaining a Bachelor in Psychology and a Masters in Counseling. During this time (among other things), I worked with children with Autism, provided telephone counseling for a suicide prevention service, and even managed to squeeze in a year at the Conservatorium of Western Australia studying Jazz Piano. While I have worked as a counselor with all ages and many different cultural & social backgrounds, I have always been happiest when working with children. I enjoy relating to their humor and playfulness, and I am continually amazed at their acceptance and openness to change.

At the end of 2008, I moved with my then fiancé to Germany. In the subsequent years, I got married, finished my Masters, started working at Frankfurt International School as the Primary School Counselor, opened up a private practice and became a mother to my beautiful daughter. Recently I started a Post Graduate Certificate in Practice Based Play Therapy at the National University of Ireland. When I am not working as a counselor, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, rock climbing, overnight hiking, camping and being outdoors.

Kids Skills On-Line


At our workshop on Monday, I was talking about there being a Web-based version of Kids Skills. Whilst the video below is really aimed at professionals working with the method, it gives you as parents a sneak-peek at the online materials 🙂

Ben Furman talks about the on-line version of Kid Skills